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Black Christmas (1974)
Fun Little Thriller...But Still Not "Halloween"!!
I've read and heard over the past couple years that this 1974 thriller/slasher is really the start or beginning to the horror/slasher genre, instead of the 1978 blockbuster hit "Halloween". Well, I realize that "Black Christmas" was 4 years before "Halloween"...this is true. But, folks, after viewing "Black Christmas" it still is NOTHING compared to "Halloween"!!
Anyone can come up with a good plot idea for a slasher and/or low budget horror flick. It takes the right actors, but more importantly the right cinematography, lighting, music, colors, sets, etc...that truly make the movie. I'm sorry, but "Halloween" still rules as the "granddaddy" of slasher flicks!
"Black Christmas" was a fun and entertaining slasher to watch...but most of the time I was laughing and found it funny. Margot Kidder was hilarious and the rest of the cast had their silly or funny moments as well. The only two true freaky and pretty scary aspects to the movie were the first kill (the guy popping out of the closet with the plastic clothes cover) and the phone calls and/or the bizarre/terrifying voices and/or things said to the girls when they answered. Other than that, this thriller was not that scary nor did it really have me on the edge of my seat.
"Halloween" truly was terrifying and much more "realistic". It used freaky lighting, bizarre music (the unforgettable theme), and much scarier kills than "Black Christmas". Therefore, it was much more popular and remembered...making it an instant cult-classic. Because of that it also will always be viewed as the real jump-start to the slasher genre. Don't get me wrong, I loved "Black Christmas" and enjoy watching it too--as I'm a horror fan and "BC" is one of my favorite editions. But..."Halloween" is still in a whole different realm and a cut above the rest of the other slashers--and will always be the alpha and omega of "Boogey Man" flicks! ;-)
Psychedelic Horror At Its Best!!
I had not ever heard of or seen this awesome, bizarre little horror flick until recently. I purchased a DVD and am truly glad I did! "Suspiria" definitely is the most bizarre but beautiful or mesmerizing horror movie I've ever seen! Usually most attribute psychedelic colors used in strange ways or outlandish situations (art, clothes, effects of hallucinatory drugs, etc...) to the late 60's and the whole hippie generation. However, this delightful little Italian slasher uses that medium superbly to its advantage in the late 70's.
The cinematography, color, lighting, sets, bizarre music, terrifying chanting, etc...are awesome and truly "make" this movie. The plot itself is a little over the top, and the acting is not that wonderful either. But, this movie is not meant to be Shakespeare--it's meant to be a scary horror flick with unrealistic, fantastical people and places. The scares are also very effective, and the strange colors and background music/chanting definitely helped make the feeling that much more ominous and terrifying!
I would recommend "Suspiria" to any true horror fan/collector and it's truly a colorful "gem" within the genre! It's become quite a cult-classic over the years and now that I've seen it I can understand why!
Unique, Freaky 70's Horror...But Certainly Not "The Exorcist"!
I recently just heard of this 70's cult-classic, and some were trying to compare it to or put it in the same realm as the 1973 masterpiece "The Exorcist." Let's be honest here...the ONLY thing that "The Possession of Joel Delaney" and "The Exorcist" have in common is that both do deal with the subject of possession. Other than that "Possession of Joel" does not even come close to an ink-ling of being in the same realm as "The Exorcist."
However, this 70's horror flick is pretty good for low-budget and the topic it deals with. There are plenty of bizarre and freaky moments, and the slow mental collapse/possession of 'Joel' was amazingly portrayed by a very young Perry King! Shirley MacLaine also gives a very excellent performance as the somewhat weird and mentally troubled 'Norah'.
But, the actor I had the most respect for, and thought truly had to go through a humiliating/horrifying experience, and handled it professionally (especially at his young age at the time) was David Elliot. He was the young 13 year old son of MacLaine and had to strip naked (exposing himself entirely) after the possessed Joel forced him to dance naked around the house to terrify him. That had to be embarrassing and I'm surprised they allowed it...but he handled the situation and that scene like a pro. This scene is also somewhat shocking and makes this film remembered among horror movie fans.
Overall...again don't expect "The Exorcist", but it is frightening and the character development, filming locations, etc... are excellent! This is a must have for horror fans/collectors!
House on Haunted Hill (1959)
Cheesy...But a Classic In Its Own Way.
This 50's fright-flick is by no means that serious or scary...but it is fun and entertaining on a stormy night. The cheesiness and "camp" is definitely abundant, but there a few good spooky moments. The supposed "old lady" ghost was actually pretty freaky. Love the house they used as well!
The plot too is interesting with a group of people being offered a large amount of money ($10,000 in the 50's would probably be like $100,000 today) to try and stick it out in a supposed "haunted" house. To me that would be fun if offered that deal...knowing that it was a set-up and that all the "scares" and ghouls would be awaiting.
But, then part way into the movie real murders start happening and waiting to see who is behind them is almost like a ghostly film noir. The skeleton at the end was a little over the top...but hey, it was the 50's and low budget. If you're a horror fan of all kinds, then this Vincent Price cult-classic is definitely one to add to your collection.
King of the Zombies (1941)
A Hilarious, but Creepy Zombie Classic!
If you're not looking for a blood-n-guts gore-fest, or to be truly terrified...but still want a good spooky classic, then "King of the Zombies" is what you're looking for! By no means is this meant to be "The Exorcist", "Halloween", or the seriously frightening zombie film "Serpent of the Rainbow"! This 40's zombie, romp-in-the-swamp is meant to be FUN along with spooky.
I love horror or scary movies of all kinds, and some of the old classics are some of my favorites! The plot is scary, and some of the "performances" by the zombies are kind of freaky--despite the continual slap-stick humor by the African-American servant...who throughout the movie has you roaring with laughter with his bantering of humorous one-liners and phrases!
"King of the Zombies" is somewhat "forgotten" and not recognized anywhere near enough! It rates right up there with the original classics "Dracula", "Wolfman", "The Mummy", and "Frankenstein"...but with a little humor thrown in! If you're looking for a fun and entertaining classic spook-flick on a stormy night, then "King of the Zombies" is perfect!
The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1947)
Awesome Psychological Thriller!
I had never heard of this movie until recently...and I love both Bogie and Stanwyck! So, I ordered a copy from the Warner Bros Archive collection and I loved it!
This superb, little suspense yarn has Bogie as the deranged Geoffrey Carroll...and for a mentally disturbed psycho, I must say I thought Bogie did an outstanding job! I had never really seen him in that kind of role before, as he usually always played a gangster-tough guy or a private detective-hero. Boy, he really held it together until the end too...when things finally started falling apart for him.
Barbara Stanwyck also was very "real" and engaging...as always! Even though I've never really considered her that pretty, I've always thought she was a superb actress! However, I thought in this movie she was very attractive, and you truly felt for her. Alexis Smith also was awesome as the scheming, vindictive mistress (or should we say next "project" for our psychotic little artist ;-) ) of Bogie.
Although some might think the plot somewhat predictable...it's not always! It does leave you thinking..."Maybe I'm wrong?" throughout, and the suspense as well as Bogie's slow but sure mental collapse is chilling and riveting! Awesome plot, awesome actors, and awesome performances!
Session 9 (2001)
Not That Scary...Just Weird and Bizarre!!
Okay, I'd read several reviews and opinions on this movie and they all made it sound awesome and scary. I'm sorry but it failed on both points! This movie was not that scary...just weird and very bizarre! It also was very hard to follow at times and the ending is so bizarre and not very well portrayed or explained. It left you going "Huh??" I had to re-look up the movie on a few sites to read what was supposed to be and possibly why.
The only thing that makes this movie even remotely watchable is the superb setting and filming locations. I LOVE abandoned places to explore and photograph!! Abandoned schools are probably my favorite. But, something like the old Danvers Mental Hospital would have been superb and a diamond in the rock pile, so-to-speak, for those who like to explore and/or photograph (with respect and admiration...NOT to vandalize or destroy with graffiti garbage)!! Also supposedly finding old tapes and/or records of past patients would have been awesome to have listened to or studied as well...as my majors/degrees are in sociology and psychology. However, in reality you'd probably end up getting the crap sued out of you by family members or relatives if they found out. ;-)
But, overall I was GRAVELY disappointed with this "whacked" out little flick! :-( There are many other thriller/horror movies out there that are much more engrossing and chillingly frightening than "Session 9." I'm a little ticked that I wasted $11 to buy it. Should have rented it first instead. Live and learn, I guess. My opinion is--check out all other "sessions" (if you will) before you ever consider "9". Ha ha ha. ;-)
Daughters of Satan (1972)
Creepy...But Stupid Ending!!!
I'd never heard of this 70's horror movie until the other night when TCM had a late night airing. I've always liked Tom Selleck and even in this effective but somewhat cheesy scare-fest he does an awesome acting job! For the time and plot, this movie does include some chilling suspense and eerie music and/or chanting--the freaky calling out of the wife's name in the middle of the night was a perfect tool to get you on the edge of your seat!
However, the ending was really stupid in my opinion! I don't want to say what happens, as I don't want to really include a "spoiler." But, with all the build-up and suspense, the way the film concludes was a total let-down and ridiculous! To me no matter how awesome or superb a movie was...if the end is terrible then it ruins the rest of it as well.
I would not recommend bothering with this...unless you're a die-hard Selleck fan, or a 70's cult-horror film collector (that doesn't care how films play out or end). However, if you like Selleck...stick with "Magnum, p.i.!"
Friday the 13th (2009)
Worst "Friday" Ever...Stick to Original!!
Okay...this is probably the WORST re-make of an original movie I've ever seen (except for maybe the re-make of "Halloween")! The acting was terrible, except for Jared Paladecki who is pretty good. But, his TV series "Supernatural" is better than this garbage! The directing and filming were awful as well. Everything was so "choppy" and seemed constantly out of sequence. Everything was also mostly done in the dark and half the time you couldn't tell what was going on. Jason was one place...suddenly seconds later he's at a completely different one...then back to the first place. You're left going "Huh??" But the biggest disappointment is the fact that this movie is NOT SCARY!! It's just SICK! There's a difference. The original "Friday the 13th" had you on edge and you never knew when the killer was going to pop out. It also focused more on the "scares" rather than how much you can torture a person. The original "Friday" is fun to watch...for as low budget as it was then, it still works! The old adage of "the simpler the better" majorly comes into play here. This re-make "Friday" is NOT fun to watch...again it's just sick. Want a good fright or scare flick on a stormy evening? My advice is rent or buy the original 1980 "Friday the 13th"...or the original 1978 "Halloween!" The new re-makes of both these movies completely miss the point and are nothing but garbage!!
Knight Rider: Knight Rider (2008)
Original Series Still Rules!!
I watched the "Pilot" movie last night. It was okay, not terrible by any means. BUT---I still feel that the original (Hoff's version) "Knight Rider" series still rules, and is the best! This new show will have new advanced special effects, obviously, but it's still a remake---NOT A NEW ORIGINAL IDEA! Remakes of older popular shows are always VERY hard to make and have them "take-off" like the originals did! This "Knight Rider" will need a lot of luck to get going like the first show did.
The 80's series was an all new idea, with awesome/mesmerizing special effects for the time! This new updated show is okay, but it's just that...an updated idea of an already awesome show. Also, I'm sorry but KITT WAS A GM AUTOMOBILE...NOT A FORD! The Mustang is a cool car, don't get me wrong, but KITT needs to be the new Camaro/Trans-Am that's supposed to be released towards the end of this year. Also, William Daniels will always be the voice of KITT...even though Val did an okay job for what he was given.
The acting was pretty "newbie" too. I know the original show was pretty corny as well, but David Hasselhoff was already a fairly accomplished TV actor by the time he did "K.R." This new dude (aka "Mike Tracer"--LOL!!!) seems pretty "green" and no where near the league of the Hoff! Last, but not least---WHEN IS THIS NEW SO-CALLED KITT GONNA' JUMP?? The whole "Pilot" did not have one jump (aka turbo boost) included. If this new show does not have KITT jump...sorry folks but it's gonna' suck! I hope the show gets better as it goes along--nice touch with the Hoff at the end, encouraging this new guy along. The original show's "Pilot" movie had style, class, and captivated you. This new one...well, sort of. But not like the original classic.